K9 Ranch

Some dogs get embarrassed and self-conscious when their parents start mentioning weight, exercise and dieting — so you might want to usher your dog out of the room for a moment while you read this page.

BellaBallIt’s a fact that many parts of the world — in particular, North America — are facing a problem with human obesity.  The sad thing is, this affliction doesn’t only apply to people:  dogs are becoming steadily more and more overweight too.  Statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association show that approximately twenty percent of dogs in North America are heavier than they should be, and worse, that obesity is the fourth leading cause of canine deaths.

Even sadder is the fact that dogs trust their human parents to do what’s best for them in terms of providing good nutrition and sufficient exercise — so if a dog is overweight it’s more likely the fault of the parent rather than the dog.


Is Your Dog Overweight?
This isn’t always an easy question to answer.  Fur can be a problem, especially with fluffy dogs:  fur is like loose clothing for humans — it hides and disguises quite a bit!  But here are a couple of tips that should help you determine if your dog is carrying too much excess weight:BigHead

  • Stand over your dog and look down.  Do you see a narrower waistline where the ribcage ends?  If you do, then your dog is not overweight.  If, on the other hand, your dog’s sides appear “equal” from chest to hips — more “parallel,” if you like — with no tapering at the lower end of the ribcage, then yes, your dog is overweight.
  • Place your hands on your dog’s sides.  Can you feel the ribs?  If you can, then your dog is not overweight.  If, however, what you feel is a soft, thick padding of flesh, then yes, your dog is overweight.

So What?
Some parents don’t believe that their dog carrying too much weight is a problem.  “He’s not doing any modelling for Sports Illustrated magazine, so where’s the harm?” they say.  Or — “If I decide to enter her in a beauty pageant, that’s when I’ll start worrying.”  The problem is, as with humans, being overweight isn’t only about appearance.  Here are some conditions and health issues that can result from canine obesity:

  • Exercise intolerance and decreased stamina
  • Respiratory problems
  • Heat intolerance
  • Hypertension (high blood-pressure)
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease or dysfunction
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Decreased mobility
  • Increased susceptibility to injuries
  • Increased risk during surgery (anesthetic risk)
  • Lowered immune system function
  • Increased cancer risk
  • General lethargy, listlessness and unhappiness

dukeTreatment for Obesity in Dogs
It’s not always a simple matter determining how to deal with a dog’s obesity problem — especially for a parent who’s at work all day and wants nothing more than to lavish treats on their four-legged child in the evening as a reward for good behaviour, or simply as an expression of love.  But eventually, the realization sinks in:  for the good of your dog, something needs to be done.

First things first, however:  if your dog is overweight and you’ve decided to help him or her get in shape, the first step must be an examination by your vet of choice.  Just as with humans who need to shed some pounds and improve their fitness, so dogs need to have their general health professionally evaluated before any sort of weight-loss plan can be commenced.  So K9 Ranch staff require that your dog receives a veterinarian thumbs-up to get the ball rolling.


pack4Where Does K9 Ranch Fit In?
There are two components to any successful weight-loss program:  increased physical activity and decreased caloric intake.  As far as the latter goes, if a dog is at K9 Ranch to lose weight, he or she will be fed a diet specific to individual requirements:  low-calorie, high-fibre meals and treats served in portions appropriate for his or her skeletal structure and size.
And as for the increased physical activity….

There’s something about K9 Ranch that encourages and inspires even the most sedentary of dogs to get moving.  Perhaps it’s the plentiful fresh air.  Perhaps it’s the 26 picturesque country acres that make up the property, offering perceptive canine senses a barrage of endless stimulation and pleasure.

pack2Perhaps it’s the hills, lowlands, woods, grass, nature trails and fresh spring-fed ponds, all entirely fenced-in to give dogs maximum freedom.  Perhaps it’s the Corrals, the ranch’s three separate outdoor exercise areas — 2-acre, 4-acre and 6-acre — that allow dogs at varying physical fitness levels to run and jump and play and hunt and chase and tumble and romp and fetch and sniff and explore and satisfy their curiosity and bond and make new friends.  Perhaps it’s the All-Weather Corral, the ranch’s indoor play area, 600 square feet of enclosed, roofed space that enables dogs to be as active as they want to be when Mother Nature isn’t cooperating.
Perhaps it’s the caring human interaction that keeps dogs alert and engaged and full of enthusiasm.
Perhaps it’s all of these things.

Whatever the case may be, the main point is that K9 Ranch makes being active fun for dogs.  And, therefore, the weight-loss process is fun too.

ruffwearTo add it the effectiveness of activities while in our program, we supply the use of RUFFWEAR backpacks to our ranchers. The backpack with increasing added weight to the packs, helps the dog to achieve greater weight loss while simply doing all the fun activities they regularly would be doing as part of our program. We are a proud supporter of RUFFWEAR. They offer the best products on the market. Dog gear that enhances and inspires activity. We highly recommend their products.

All of the above are the reasons the ranch’s two weight-loss programs — each requiring a different level of parental involvement — are so successful.

  • pack6Your dog stays at the ranch Monday through Friday and goes home on the weekend.  He or she will believe that they are on holiday!
  • While at the ranch, your dog will follow his or her nutrition and physical activity plan, devised by K9 Ranch according to individual weight-loss goals.
  • Physical activity will gradually increase, taking the form of regular walks, supervised playtime and treadmill exercise (especially in inclement weather).  This is an enjoyable exercise regimen that facilitates optimal calorie-burning, improvements in cardiovascular health, and safe, steady weight-loss.
  • For the weekend trips home, your dog will be provided with pre-measured portions of high-quality, low-calorie food, as well as specific instructions to make it easy for you to maintain the continuity of the program and the momentum of the weight-loss.  You’ll find that this guidance helps you help your dog by avoiding unnecessary treat-feeding and overfeeding at mealtimes, subtle parental behaviour-adjustment that will carry on after the program is complete.
  • Once your dog’s excess weight is gone, education and guidance will be provided in the form of a lifetime plan to ensure that the lost weight will remain lost after the program is complete and your dog is back at home.
  • The average weight-loss program can range from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on how much weight your dog needs to lose.

4-Week Program (Monday through Friday):  $1,000 plus cost of food
8-Week Program (Monday through Friday):  $1,800 plus cost of food

  • pack2Your dog stays at the ranch on a live-in, 7-days-a-week basis, for a month or a few months — however long it takes for his or her weight-loss goal to be achieved.  You are welcome to visit as often as you like during this period, and you’ll witness the significant health improvements in your furry loved one each time you do.
  • While at the ranch, your dog will follow his or her nutrition and physical activity plan, devised by K9 Ranch according to individual weight-loss goals.
  • Physical activity will gradually increase, taking the form of regular walks, supervised playtime and treadmill exercise (especially in inclement weather).  This is an enjoyable exercise regimen that facilitates optimal calorie-burning, improvements in cardiovascular health, and safe, steady weight-loss.
  • Changing feeding and exercise habits with consistency can be difficult for a dog’s family.  So, once your dog’s excess weight is gone, education and guidance will be provided in the form of a lifetime plan to ensure that the lost weight will remain lost after the program is complete and your dog is back at home.
  • The average weight-loss program can range from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on how much weight your dog needs to lose.

4-Week Program (7 days per week):  $1,200 plus cost of food
8-Week Program (7 days per week):  $2,200 plus cost of food